A dentist is a physician whose practice is in the field of dentistry. This involves the mouth, teeth, gums and related areas. Some studies have shown that diseases relating to the teeth and gums can be indicative or indicators of some health issues. The health of the mouth is essential to the general overall health of the body and a dentist will encourage and assist their patients in maintaining a healthy mouth by regular cleaning and check-ups. A dentist performs many important duties in the maintenance of oral health. Check-ups are a major part of the job and are important for patients keeping on top of their oral care. In addition to general check-ups, general dentistry involves basic treatments that can be done at a regular dental office. Such procedures might include filling a tooth, performing a minor surgical procedure such as a tooth extraction, and cleaning and polishing teeth. A dentist will encourage patients to practice good dental care by brushing and flossing and getting regular cleanings as these good habits can help prevent cavities and other tooth and gum diseases. Within dentistry, there are specific specialties which require further training, creating expertise in a particular area.